Members of the Commission are appointed by the Governor for staggered terms of 5 years each. No more than 3 of the members may be of the same political party. The members are subject to review by the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over judiciary and confirmation by the Legislature. The Governor designates one member to be the chair.
Commissioner Deborah Whitworth
Deborah Whitworth of Portland was first appointed as a Commissioner by Governor LePage September 2011 to fill an unexpired term. She was appointed for a full term in August 2012, and reappointed in 2017; her current term ends in August 2022. Deb is owner of HR Studio Group—a human resources consulting firm located in Portland and serving businesses and nonprofits throughout Maine and Seacoast New Hampshire.
An outspoken advocate for disability rights, she was pleased to be elected in 2015 to the board of The Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness. Named the Maine HR Leader of the Year by the SHRM Maine State Council in 2012, Deb is a frequent presenter on human resources and compliance topics at conferences and business functions. She is also an instructor in the HR Certificate Program at University of Southern Maine, and she leads the SHRM-SCP/SHRM-CP Certification Preparatory Course at University of Southern Maine.
Prior to being elected as Director of the Maine State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management, she served as President of the largest SHRM chapter in the state—the Human Resources Association of Southern Maine. Deb previously was employed by Mercer, a global human resources firm, Managing Director at Lebel and Harriman, Vice President of Human Resources at the Waldron Group of Companies, and the Regional Human Resources Manager at Central Maine Medical Center.
Deb holds a Bachelors' Degree in Communications from Kent State University in Ohio. She earned her Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation from the Human Resources Certification Institute of SHRM in 2002 and was among the first HR professionals in the country to earn her SHRM-SCP (Senior Certified Professional) designation in 2014. Deb is a registered Republican.
Commissioner Jefferson Ashby
Jeff Ashby of Presque Isle was appointed to the Commission by Governor Mills in June of 2019, to fill an expired term that began on August 1, 2018; his term will expire on August 1, 2023. As an attorney who was raised in Fort Fairfield, Jeff opened his own firm in Presque Isle in 2018 practicing mostly family law, as well as personal injury and criminal law. Jeff attended Bowdoin College and the University of Maine School of Law, and then returned to the County to practice law with the Harding Law Office in Presque Isle. After 15 years as the Presque Isle manager for Pine Tree Legal Assistance, which provides free civil legal aid to low-income Mainers, Jeff worked for a time as the Director of Compliance and Risk Management for Northern Light Health A.R. Gould Hospital before opening his firm. Jeff has practiced in federal, state and tribal courts, previously served as the Vice Chair on the Board of Visitors of the University of Maine – Presque Isle, and is on the Board of Directors for the Aroostook County Action Program. Proud father of Lillian, Jeff resides in Presque Isle with his wife Desiree and her daughter Delilah. Jeff is a registered Democrat.
Commissioner Edward David
of Farmington was appointed to the Commission by Governor Mills in February of 2020, to fill an expired term that began on August 1, 2019; his term will expire on August 1, 2024. A longtime Farmington attorney, Ed established his own firm in 2014 with a focus on family law and alternative dispute resolution. Ed received his undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. Ed is a registered Democrat.
Commissioner Julie Ann O'Brien
of Augusta was appointed to the Commission by Governor Mills in April 2021 to fill a term that expired on August 1, 2021; Governor Mills reappointed Julie in January 2022 to serve a full term ending on August 1, 2025. An Augusta native, Julie received her undergraduate degree from Springfield College. During her wide-ranging career, Julie (among other things, and while raising five children): founded and served as the Executive Director of Augusta's Children's Discovery Museum; served four terms in the Maine State Legislature, representing part of Augusta; was the host of a radio talk show; was the Executive Director of the Maine Republican Party; and volunteered time and expertise serving many Augusta and Maine human service organizations. Julie's husband Mark O'Brien, who also has been active in serving the Augusta area in many capacities, currently serves as Augusta's mayor. Julie is a registered Republican.